For the past 2 and a half years I ran an experiment. When I took a break from the world of entrepreneurship for almost 4 years, I stepped back in as an author, consultant and public speaker.
A lot had changed during those 4 years. Social Media exploded and marketing and advertising techniques had changed. The entire business landscape that I was familiar with, looked much different. The question I asked myself was, “Does what I learned and previously used still work in this modern environment?”
I released 3 books in 2014: Unlocking the Small Business Game, Holding Magnetic Conversations and Revealing the Secrets of the Game. These were my “products”. I made a commitment to myself that over the next 30-months I would use minimal advertising (less than $1 a day) and minimal Social Media exposure: extremely little posting, no videos and no live-streaming when that became a “thing” last year.
The intention behind the experiment was my need to KNOW for myself. Not to believe and not to follow anyone else’s theory of how to “make-it” in the modern business Game. The only way to do that was to jump feet first into the deep-end of the pool and find a way to swim.
I put a lot of self-imposed restrictions in place and had to apply a great deal of discipline to focus on the overall goal. It wasn’t easy either because in the back of my mind I was constantly thinking, “I should be BUILDING a business! Not watching, sitting back and just seeing what happens.” It’s just the Hustler in me… what can I say?
What I learned during these past 30-months has honestly completely shocked and surprised me – in a good way.
For the previous year, September 1, 2015 to September 1, 2016, my website has averaged over 4,900 page views and 1,300 unique visitors per month. Pretty good, definitely above average but not GREAT (getting closer though). My books sales have been strong. Again, above average but not great. Honestly though, they’re much better than I expected, all things considered.
The website growth and book sales did not completely come from advertising or Social Media – again, my advertising budget is only around $325 a year and I used minimal Social Media. Yes, they absolutely helped, but they contribute to only about 30% of the website’s overall growth. Most of the growth has actually come from my blog feeds, books and the best form of advertising: word of mouth.
While we’re on the subject – Thank you to everyone who reads my blogs, listens to the podcasts, reads the books and checked out the Audio Lessons. Without you, none of what I do matters. That’s just the truth.
Here’s 1 lesson I learned that floored me but yet relieved me at the same time… CONTENT IS STILL KING.
Here’s some business Game: In our modern world, it very easy to start a business. Perhaps it’s the best time in history to do so. There are a ton of accessible tools that can get you up and running with minimal monetary investment.
It’s so easy in fact that statistically (according to the Small Business Administration) about 50% of businesses fail within their 1st year – 16% won’t make it past their 2nd year. That’s a staggering number, but when you have so many people “giving it a try”, you also have a lot of people who don’t know HOW to make it work.
I completely understand. My first 2 businesses failed and back then starting a business was even harder and took a lot more money.
To succeed in business it takes what it ALWAYS took:
(1) Clear intentions and a clear brand identity
(2) Quality products and/or service
(3) Understanding the needs (and wants) of your market
(4) Properly focused and executed marketing and advertising
(5) Taking care of your customers (I could write a book on this one)
(6) Building a quality network
(8) Providing quality CONTENT in whatever medium you’ve chosen – be it Social Media, blogging or a channel on YouTube, etc.
What time HAS changed is the WAY these things are designed, structured and delivered.
Yes, I know I’m making all this sound very simplistic, but that’s my job – to keep things simple. Why look for complication when it’s not necessary?
My 30-month experiment has now officially ended and I feel… discombobulated (not a favorite word of mine, but it fits perfectly). There are so many directions to go in that I previously kept myself away from. I’m not sure of where to step first. I have an app on my phone that I constantly write ideas into and the lists have grown rather long.
So here I am, James the Hustler is back! Unrestrained, unchained, boots laced and ready to go. There are so many plans I want to put in motion but I also learned another lesson over these last 2 and a half years. Without question, the most important lesson of all… this isn’t really about me; it’s about each and every one of YOU.
The essence of The Game is self-empowerment. The reality is, there’s nothing I’ve accomplished that you can’t accomplish as well. There will be plenty more to come from me to help you get there! Until next time… stay in motion.
Business Education From A to Z - No Fluff Included